Though the events in this book bear similarity to those of that long malaise, my life...I have drawn freely from the imagination and adhered only loosely to the pattern of my past life. To this extent, and for this reason, I ask to be judged a writer of fantasy.
Subtitled "A Fictional Memoir," Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes rings truer than any "creative non-fiction" that I have ever read and, while generally shelved in the fiction section of most bookstores, is every bit as revealing and revelatory as Dave Eggers' Heartbreaking Work or James Frey's controversial Million Little Pieces. Published in 1968, Fan's Notes was literary memoir before it was hip and set the bar for Frey and Eggers along with another too-little-known classic of this genre, Frank Conroy's Stop Time.
A humorous and heart-wrenching account of alcoholism, sexual frustration, and shock therapy; Fan's Notes paints a perfect picture of the dark underbelly of the 60s, a confession and conversation on self-absorption, emptiness and isolation. Reminiscent of the best work by Vonnegut, Kesey, and Wolfe; Frederick Exley's Fan's Notes is a most brilliant example of the tragicomic.